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How critical is balancing?

I have just finished installing my very first rod and then it dawned that perhaps I should attempt to balance my units.

Here are my units:

1. Rods have been reconditioned by Competition Engineering.
2. I have new ARP bolts.
3. Piston's are new JE pistons.

I thought I was slick by going to the post-office on a Sunday and use their scale to measure the rods and ARP bolts. Unfortunately, I do not think their scale is delicate enough as all the rods came out to be 1 lb 9.90 oz. The bolts each weigh 1.60 oz. I have not weigh the pins and pistons yet as I think I am using the wrong scale.

Are these #'s close enough? Should I bother with balancing? Man, I can't wait to assemble my engine.


Does anyone have a chemistry scale I could use? If you are close enough, I am even willing to drive so you do not have to part with your unit. I have loan tools before and I understand how it feels to part with your tools.

Thanks.
Old 03-18-2007, 07:21 PM
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BTW, make sure Walt of Competition Engineering does not see this thread. I believe he spoke at German AutoFest and mentioned about how crazy/an?l we are about balancing.
Old 03-18-2007, 07:23 PM
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There are approximately 454 grams in 1 ounce. Engine parts are balanced using the gram scale. An ounce tolerance is not .... tolerable.

And there are some jig requirements to measure rotating and reciprocating parts, not just "place on scale and weigh". CE is a good source as are some strictly engine balancing shops.

Some guys here have built their own jigs for measuring rod balance. You could check the archives. Crank balancing is another matter.

Sherwood
Old 03-18-2007, 08:43 PM
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Ummm, there is 454g in a pound and a little over 28g in an ounce. But either way, an ounce variance is alot.

Cheers
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Old 03-18-2007, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Alton
Ummm, there is 454g in a pound and a little over 28g in an ounce. But either way, an ounce variance is alot.

Cheers

I agree. The Post Office scale was showing 2 decimal places and I was hoping it would at least give me 100th-of-an-oz accuracy. But it does not.
Old 03-18-2007, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jeff Alton
Ummm, there is 454g in a pound and a little over 28g in an ounce. But either way, an ounce variance is alot.

Cheers
Ummm, wrong scale. My apologies for the obvious mistake.

Sherwood
Old 03-18-2007, 10:49 PM
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Bruce Anderson's book says this is not as important as a V-6 engine because it is horizontally opposed, so balance is not critical.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:22 AM
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FWIW I did notice a difference in my engine after balancing at higher RPM's. Previously all were within about 6 grams, they were balanced to within 1/2 gram. Spin balancing on a computer rig is the best way to go.

Balancing on a street motor is unnecessary on Porsches, they are already really good. You can match weights left/right front/rear to help without a lot of work.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:06 AM
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For weighing pistons, just buy a scale at an Office Max or the like. The one with the smallest maximum weight. Not expensive, plenty accurate to use to get all your pistons weighing the same. You can't weigh really heavy stuff, but so what. And since what we care about is comparative weights, it doesn't matter much if there are inaccuracies, as long as they are constant.

You could weigh rods as well, but since they need end to end balancing, you'd want to build a jig (and know what you are doing), so that is more of a specialist thing.

And nobody does DIY crank balancing, do they? I haven't even figured out how a tire balancer magically gives its readout, much less how the crank balancers do it. But do it they do.

How much is enough is a fine topic for endless discussion. A half gram isn't much. Way less than the differential buildup of carbon on a piston, no? At some point there is no measureable gain for closer balancing.

Since I have the scale, I've been thinking of weighing rocker arms. Maybe I'd want to figure out how to weigh each end separately. Hmm.

Walt Fricke
Old 03-19-2007, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SP2
Bruce Anderson's book says this is not as important as a V-6 engine because it is horizontally opposed, so balance is not critical.
As Walt points out, there's no easy way to determine the balance of a crank, especially at speed which it requires. B. Anderson's statement assumes the crank is already balanced, but we know what happens when one assumes too much.

Sherwood
Old 03-19-2007, 09:11 PM
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When I did my pistons/pins/clips, I use a scale like Walt recomends. When I was done, they read the same number of grams. I think my scale went to .5 grams...

Cheers
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:31 PM
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I've twice balanced a single replacement piston (we all know how that kind of thing happens) to match the balanced set of 5 I had. Even though the new ones were of the same weight group, each time I think I chickened out on grinding off more aluminum on the edges of the pin boss before I got within a couple of grams.

But now, having snooped on enough Pelican discussions, I realize I could have snagged the odd gram or three or maybe five on the pin. (can you even get more?) So next time I can waste time getting things to within the tolerance of the scale. But I won't have to worry about what the practical limit really is.

Walt
Old 03-19-2007, 10:57 PM
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Postal scales are not good enough, but if you want to drop $125-200 you can get a gem/jewelry scale that does .1g

http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=39

I was looking around and found a rod weighing fixture that actually uses this scale... forgot the link though I was thinking about it, but I could use the money elsewhere for sure...

best regards,

Michael
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Old 03-20-2007, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by euro911sc
Postal scales are not good enough, but if you want to drop $125-200 you can get a gem/jewelry scale that does .1g

......, but I could use the money elsewhere for sure...

best regards,

Michael


A hundred bucks here and there and things add up. Maybe I can use this to replace my powder-scale.
Old 03-20-2007, 09:14 AM
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In order to balance any of those components properly, you need an accurate and respeatable scale that has very good resolution. So bathroom scales, and post office scales that the public throws there overweight boxes onto on a daily basis prrrrrrobably wont give you the result your looking for. The rods shoudl be balanced end to end, weighing the whole rod and taking that as it wont do. The big end and wrist pin end could be off on each. Thats will determine where you would take meat off if any. There are adjustable jigs used to weigh each end, you cant just go grinding off material whereever you want....well I mean you can...but its not the optimum way. The pistons usually have material under the dome you can remove, and weighing them is pretty straight. The crankshaft, well thats a pain. I balanced all my cranks on an old Stewart Warner balancer, that gave beautiful results, it was pretty tricky to learn the nuances of how it worked, but once you got it, it did a great job. The cranks are balanced in two planes, dynamic and kinetic if I remember, one is your basic up and down balance, or centerline type plane, and the other is the end to end, which basically makes the crank want to sort of crabwalk at speed when the imbalance comes in. Forgive me, its been a while. I would balance the crank, get it dead on, then do the flywheel, pp, and pulleys, so by the end the whole mass was in balance.
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Old 03-20-2007, 05:23 PM
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I used to spend hours lightening and balancing my FV engines. It was a real pain in the arse, but since I was a home builder I used one of the readily available digital food scales that you can get at your local Williams/Sonoma or kitchen supply store. It was good enough and went to .5 grams.

Then I rebuilt my 2.0 six last year and was blown away by the accuracy and matched weights of the rods (total and end to end), pistons and rockers. I didn't put a grind mark or drill bit dimple in anything. Then again we are talking about the difference between VW and Porsche....

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Old 03-20-2007, 06:22 PM
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I learn something new everyday. I was exposed to the 'crank' balancing from Wayne's book --- which I could never do.

Then, I though I read somewhere on this board that in lieu of actually taking grams off the units, you simply:

1. Identify the weight of each unit.
2. Having identified the weight, you install the 2 heaviest units on cylinders X/Y, the 2nd middle weights on cylinders A/B, and finally the lightest units on cylinders C/D --- or something like that!

BTW, I am building an early SC (big exhaust port), S cams, carbs, and mainly for weekend-canyon carving.
Old 03-20-2007, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cstreit
FWIW Balancing on a street motor is unnecessary on Porsches, they are already really good. You can match weights left/right front/rear to help without a lot of work.


So, since my project would probably not see the track, balancing would probably be somewhat a waste of time and $$? If so, I am all for the assembly go-ahead.
Old 03-20-2007, 06:53 PM
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Just curious....I have new Mahle P/C's, Carillo rods and a brand new crankshaft, fresh from Porsche that'll fit in a brand new '84 case....

Do I need to bother balancing anything at all? I was sorta hoping that those fine suppliers at least kept their parts equal in weight....

Opinions?

Dennis
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:18 PM
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I would put this in the category of assuming all is well because the parts are new. Proceeding without checking depends on your level of confidence. Some folks are more comfortable than others about this.

Sherwood
Old 03-20-2007, 10:57 PM
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